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Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – May 12



  1. What is Integrated Case Management Information System (ICMIS)? How can it help transform a paper court to a digital court?(GS 2)

The Hindu

Introduction:-

  • Applauding the Supreme Court’s initiative to go paperless, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Supreme Court’s Integrated Case Management Information System (ICMIS).

Integrated case management information system:-

  • The Integrated Case Management Information System or ICMIS is described as the next generation hybrid database which is used to better enable litigants to access and retrieve information online.
  • ICMIS will provide information on:
    • Next tentative date of listing generated through e-process
    • Categories and Acts & Section
    • Objections in Defective matters
    • Interlocutory Application/Documents
    • Office Reports
    • Listing dates.
    • Judgement/Orders
    • Appearance information of accused.
    • Tracking of file movement
    • Status of the notice issued
  • Along with this, there will also be an online court fee calculator and an online limitation calculator.
  • It is also proposed that it will operate as an online gateway for payment of court fee and process fee. Other features offered under the new system include an online court fee calculator. This is expected to streamline the filing process for both the advocates and the registry.

How can it help to transform a paper court into digital court:-

  • With the help of a new software, High Court will be able to access the case records and it will reduce the repetition of case data entries in the Supreme Court
  • The Integrated Case Management Information System (ICMIS) will allow a litigant to digitally file a case and watch its progress on a real-time basis.
  • The system will help litigants access data and retrieve information online. It will be a step towards a paperless Supreme Court.
  • The Chief justice proposed to integrate the system with all the 24 High Courts and the subordinate courts. It would help usher in transparency, reduce manipulation and help the litigant track the progress of a case on a real- time basis.
  • The Prime Minister said a paperless approach would be a boon to both litigants and the environment.
  • It will help litigants to file only one case and the same will be transferred to higher courts automatically due to digitisation of documents.
  • it will help the bar and not increase its workload.

  1. Discuss the functions of Rail Development Authority (RDA). Also, discuss the structure of the RDA.(GS 3)

The Hindu

Introduction:-

  • The Cabinet recently initiated a major reform by approving the setting up of a regulator called the Rail Development Authority (RDA).
  • The concept of a regulator was first mooted in the railways in 2001 by    an experts group under Rakesh Mohan  .This was later reiterated by the National Transport Development Policy Committee (NTDPC) in 2014 and a panel under Bibek Debroy in 2015

Functions:-

  • The regulator will decide on tariffs:
    • The RDA will help the government take appropriate decisions on important policy and operational issues, including pricing of services commensurate with costs, suggest measures for enhancement of non-fare revenue.
    • The regulator will frame principles, recommend tariffs, principles for classification of commodities, frame principles for social service obligation and guidelines for track access charges on dedicated freight corridors.
  • Ensure fair play and a level playing field for stakeholder investment in the railways:
    • Ensure protection of consumer interests, promote competition, encourage market development
  • Set up efficiency and performance standards and disseminate information by creating positive environment for investment and promote efficient resource allocation.
  • It will also benchmark service standards, suggest measures for absorption of new technologies and human resource development and provide a framework for non-discriminatory open access to the dedicated freight corridor infrastructure.
  • RDA would provide transparency to passenger and freight tariff determination and protect consumer interest by ensuring quality of service and cost optimisation.
  • It would also monitor policies on public-private partnerships.
  • Setting performance standards for rail operations and creating level playing policy for private sector participation through an executive order.
  • Ensuring fair play: 
    • The regulatory body will ensure level-playing field for all stakeholders.
    • It will help propose modifications and send suggestions or advisory notes on investment in railways by the Indian Railways, make suggestions regarding policies for private investment to ensure reasonable safeguards to PPP investors and to resolve disputes regarding future concession agreements.

Drawbacks:-

  • This means, it can only recommend changes to passenger and goods fares to the Railway Ministry which will taken a final call on fixing tariff.
  • Lacks autonomy :-
    • The regulator may lack autonomy if it’s formed through an executive order.
  • Mere recommendatory powers to the RDA would not result in effective measures at the grounds.
  • Low Budget :
    • Only 50 crores are allotted to it and they are asked to employ the latest technology and recruits best talents from the private sector which is not possible with the current budget.

Structure of RDA:-

  • A Chairman along with three members each for tariff, public private partnership and efficiency, standards and benchmarking.
  • The members are to be appointed by a committee headed by cabinet secretary
  • Fixed term of five years each.
  • They can be removed by the Central government only on certain grounds, including insolvency, conviction, misbehaviour, physical and mental incapability.
  • The organisation will be set up with an initial corpus of Rs50 crore and can engage experts from relevant areas for assistance.
  • Positives :
    • Check political interference as cabinet secretary report to Prime minister
    • Each of the member has defined jurisdiction ie PPP, tariffs, standard , check overlap
  • Concerns:
    • Lacks autonomy
    • Bureaucratic involvement in selection rather than sector experts

Therefore It is a good step to depoliticize the railways but it should be made statutory in the future and more powers should be delegated to it so that it can fulfill the aim for which it is formed.


  1. “The issue of poor uptake of healthcare programmes by the masses is a result of mismanaged health centres and, to some extent, human psychology.” Critically comment. (GS 1)

Live Mint

Yes:-

  • policymakers’ good intentions have been marred by the lack of effective public service delivery mechanisms.
    • An inefficient service delivery mechanism creates inequity in access to healthcare and results in the suppressed uptake of services by the masses as they turn to private alternatives.
    • In a study conducted by the World Bank and Harvard University in 2003, it was found that in 1,500 primary healthcare centres across India, 40% of healthcare workers in government health clinics were absent from work.
  • For the underprivileged, a visit to a primary healthcare centre may mean the loss of a day’s wage.
    • Given that a full immunization schedule requires at least five visits to the sub-centres, for a poor family the opportunity cost is huge, especially given a bad service delivery system.
  • A lack of understanding of the benefits of vaccination, and, to some extent, distrust in government healthcare services, exacerbate the problem. 
  • When it comes to service delivery, evidence-based policy has been absent in India. Policymakers need to know what works and what doesn’t.
    • There is evidence to show that projects fail largely as they are not evidence-based.
  • However, the biggest dilemma that policymakers face is that though there is abundant evidence available, there is a lack of consensus about its quality.
    • In 2015, there was one government hospital bed for every 1,833 people compared with 2,336 persons a decade earlier.
    • However, as Lancet points out, this has been inequitably distributed.
      • For instance, there is one government hospital bed for every 614 people in Goa compared with one every 8,789 people in Bihar. The care provided in these facilities is also not up to the mark.
    • There aren’t enough skilled healthcare professionals in India despite recent increases in MBBS programmes and nursing courses.In community health centres in rural areas of many states, ranging from Gujarat to West Bengal, the shortfall of specialists exceeds 80%.
    • The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) numbers show a decrease in the use of public hospitals over the past two decades only 32% of urban Indians use them now, compared with 43% in 1995-96.
    • Most Indian women put their families first and are very reluctant to go to hospital for their own illness.

However there are other reasons for the current healthcare situation in India .They are:-

  • Only about 1 per cent of GDP comes from the government. In most countries that do a decent job in health policy, around 50-60% of health spending is by government, where they consider public health as public good. India cannot deal with malaria, tuberculosis, HIV etc. with a public spending of 1 per cent.
  • The problem is that there is information asymmetry in the health sector. Unless one has systems for regulating there will be malpractice and ethical problems, with no forum for redressal.
  • Costs of medical treatment have increased so much that they are one of the primary reasons driving people into poverty.
  • According to Lancet. Corruption also increases irrational use of drugs and technology.
    • For instance, kickbacks from referrals to other doctors or from pharmaceutical and device companies lead to unnecessary procedures such as CT scans, stent insertions and caesarean sections, the study said.

Solutions:-

  • A study, conducted by the researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, with NGO Seva Mandir showed that monitoring, coupled with punitive pay incentive, reduced the absence of nurses from 60% to 30% in healthcare centres.
    • This proves that healthcare workers are responsive to properly administered incentives, and that comprehensive monitoring does make a difference.
  • Some lessons can be learnt from the following instances:-
    • A research study done by the MIT on 2,000 children from 134 villages of Udaipur, from 2004-07, helped provide immunization services through mobile camps on fixed days in one intervention.
    • In the other intervention, it incentivized parents with a gift of 1kg of lentils on immunization days and a thali on the completion of the whole schedule. It showed that providing poor families with non-financial incentives in addition to reliable services and education about immunization was more effective in nudging them to complete their child’s immunization schedule .
  • The government has allocated Rs48,878 crore to the health sector in the recent budget, increasing it to 2.2% of the total Union budget . With such a massive investment, the government would do well to ensure that healthcare services reach the intended beneficiaries and that the beneficiaries avail of them fully.
  • Countries like Brazil and Thailand have been able to put regulations in place for the health sector. From the point of view of patients,India needs a mechanism where patients can register complaints and/or redress their grievances.
  • Spending some resources on research will help the government deliver benefits in an effective way as well as avoid the often-repeated mistakes of earlier mechanisms.

 

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